I have been a type 1 diabetic for 34 years, so I am probably a good person to answer you, even though I am not a doctor. The honeymoon period varies from person to person. I frankly require fairly low amounts of insulin now, after 34 years, and some doctors think I may still be making some insuiin. Now, whether this happens in your case or not won't affect the quality of your life, but only affects how much insulin it takes to cover the carbs you eat. If your pancreas quits entirely, it means you will simply need more insulin. No real change to what you are doing, but only in the amount of insulin you need for each carbohydrate count. That is no harder once it is established than what you are doing now.
And it doesn't happen overnight. So what may (or may not) happen is that you may find that you need to gradually increase the amount of insulin you take. But you will know when the balance is correct, for your glucose levels will stay stable with the correct amount of insulin. So I wouldn't worry about it. It won't be earth-shattering or a big overnight change.
As for what you have read about seizuring and not waking up, this is fixable if you know what causes it. Both of these situations are caused by overdosing on insulin. Too much insulin for the carbs you eat can cause severe hypoglycemia, and that's where seizures and not waking up can happen. During the day, most folks can feel it happening, but at night while asleep, this can be a problem. New research has shown that warning symptoms that some diabetics lose after being hypoglycemic too often can be returned by doing two simple things (read on, and I will explain). The brain re-programs itself, and the warning symptoms return and the diabetic wakes up again if low.
For heavy sleepers, this is more of a danger. Now, this doesn't happen because the person is no longer having a honeymoon period, but simply because the diabetic has taken too much insulin for the carbs they ate before bedtime. If something like this happens, and happens more than once, the diabetic can look at options such as taking the insulin at different times, altering bedtime snacks, etc. So it really should never be a real danger. It doesn't happen because of severe diabetes, but rather because the diabetic's insuln dose is not working well with their evening foods.
Furthermore, I firmly believe that all type 1 diabetics should keep one glucagon kit handy just in case a night low happens and you cannot be easily roused to drink juice. This can change a night low from being terrifying to a not very big deal. I have been roused a few times by my husband having to give glucagon back in the days when I used older insulins that were harder to calculate, and the glucagon works beautifully. No real harm is done, and in about 15 minutes, you feel fine, no matter how low you were when it was administered. A glucagon kit can save you from having to be hauled into the emergency room if low in your sleep. Your doctor can prescribe one, and a parent or roomate (depending on the diabetic's living situation) can administer it even if the diabetic is unconscious.
The problem with more and more lows leads right up to what I was writing about with the night-time lows. When a person has a severe low that lasts a while, the brain looks for emergency sugars stored in the liver to raise those glucose levels in order to help itself. If another low happens soon afterwards, the brain may not realize that the body actually is low on sugar becuase it may still have some of those emergency sugars on hand. So the person doesn't FEEL low even when he is low. So it snowballs from there, and eventually (after a pattern of repeated lows) the person may not feel low at all before they simply keel over.
The new research shows, however, that this snowball effect can be avoided and can be fixed by doing two fairly simple things:
1. When you do feel low, get the quickest possible fix. In other words, drink some quick juice rather than nibbling crackers that take a half hour to digest. This can prevent the brain from having time to go after the emergency sugars in the liver in the first place. The quicker the fix, the better. I find that this works, and now, even if i find myself low just before a meal, I will first drink a small amount of juice to get the fix going quickly. and then eat my meal.
2. If you find that lows are happening fairly often, then put a real effort into trying to avoid having any lows at all for two weeks. You can do this by reducing insulin amounts a little at the problem times or by increasing your food. But it is not hard to do if you know that this two week period is the key to removing all traces of emergency sugars from the brain's reach and getting back your warning symptoms.
Again, this is fairly new information that I only read about in an AP wire article about two years ago. Before that, I think even most doctors assumed that this loss of warning symptoms was something we diabetics were just doomed to have happen. Not so. I was one of those with little to no warning symptoms, and after reading the article and taking the two steps I write about, my warnings are back. I can feel a drop in glucose even when sugar is just below about 74, which is not even considered low yet.
As a long-timer, I can assure you that a very normal and wonderful life is very possible. I have been involved with fairly extreme sports, and have a very active and content life. The diet and shots are really more of a habit after all this time than a real hassle. It gets easier, honest. And I am without any damages after all this time, so taking good care of yourself now is worth the effort you put into it. I speak from experience, so keep your chin up.
I remember talking with doctors about this problem of losing warning symptoms of lows and getting pretty much the same response as what gman's doctor told him. No matter how good the doctor is, if he or she doesn't LIVE with diabetes and hasn't experienced a severe low, he or she cannot know how frightened a tightly controlled diabetic can be of them, for it is a terrifying and sometimes embarrassing experience. I believe that physicians in past years perhaps assumed that this was just one of the damages of the disease. When I saw this article in my newspaper a few years ago, I was excited to hear that the brain's response to sugar drops can be altered. And it does work, or at least it has in my case. It is very rare indeed for a low to sneak up on me now without plenty of good warning symptoms.
Gman, I have been reading some of your other comments, and am impressed by you and your desire to know more. I have found that some doctors do not completely explain the reasons behind certain things that happen in our lives, maybe because they do not wish to burden us with medical details. But I have found that being educated about the "whys" behind my responses to medications, to exercies, to allergies, to viruses, etc. help me to treat the glucose changes better. And to live happier and healthier.
So continue to ask questions, and read all you can about each concern you have. Education keeps you motivated to properly take care of yourself, for self-control is a hard thing for a teen without any underlying motivation. I suppose I look at the self-control issues as something similar to what a professional athlete does to maintain his physique. He does it to keep on top of his sport, and doesn't mind making sacrifices because he can see that he is tops in this area as a result. We are similar in that we make some sacrifices in order to stay healthy. But, years later, I find the results are that I have no middle-aged spread such as most of my peers struggle with (nope, not all middle-aged folks are chunky!) and that I am in better condition than most of my peers.
At your point in life, you won't see those benefits yet, although nowadays many teens are battling weight issues too. But a healthy lifestyle now will aid you in amazing ways later on. And the emotional things we deal with when diabetic as teens help us to deal with other pressures later on in life, too. The school of hard knocks can either raise a very depressed person who sees himself as a loser or a person who has great strength in adversity and who can rise above bad circumstances to win in life's many struggles. I find that people who deal with life's troubles in a positive way become better people as a result, and certainly become people who can empathize and help others who are struggling. Keep your focus and take care of yourself, my friend. The future is yours for the taking.
thanks again for your comment, and you rwell thought out response.
When i was put into the hostpital for diabeties, i weighed about 190 pounds. I lost 20 pounds, in 2-4 weeks, before i went to the hostpital. Since being diagnosed, i have takin away milkshakes, regular pop, and other high sugar food's. Tho i miss them, i still get my fix by just sipping on someone's milkshake, or bittin gsomeone's choco bar.
I have also started to work out, both to be healthier, and look better
Tho i dont carb count, and tho i still eat a few extra snacks here and there(enjoying my honeymood:D), i do realise that healthy living, means longer life
Well, i must say, that is hte most insighful response, i have ever gotten. When i asked the doctor about these worries, he pretty much just pushed them aside, and told me not to worry about it. What u said, gives me hope, and has made me feel much better about my diabeties.
Thank you for spending the time, writing that out, it really helped
I to have type 1 diabetes and have had it since i was 13 years old, I am now 27. I recently went for my pediatric doctor and am now with an adult doc and he has been screwing around with my insulin. now for the past week i have been going to bed at 8am cause that is when i get off and not waking up. My roommate succeds normally with getting a spoonful of sugar into my mouth but normally i fight with her no way she gets the glucagon into me, so friday morning she had that call an ambulance. no idea how long i was unconcious for and i didnt come to till i was halfway to the hospital and it is pretty far away from my home id say about 30 min drive.
I called my new doctor and told him what was going on and he told me that if i am having problems like that to call my family doc or walk in clinic or go to the er. I do not understand why he would tell me something like that when he is my dietabetic doc. grr that upsets me . I also think that i am having seziures while i am passed out cause my roommate said that my whole body was shaking when she came into the room. I do not know what to do please someone help.
thanks for that thorough explanation JDRF-Team-sgg I've recently been wondering why I haven't been waking up when my sugar has been dropping. I've been type 1 for 10 years now and have always been able to wake up when my sugar has dropped even below 100, and in the last month my sugar has dropped me into seizures twice while i was asleep. Luckily both times there were people nearby who knew to call paramedics, but hopefully now I'll be able to regain that ability to wake up from a low sugar in my sleep again, because lately I've been dealing with constant high sugars from dropping my dose of long acting insulin out of fear of another low sugar in my sleep. Thank you again, your explanation was very helpful.
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